IMPACT ABSORBING SURFACING MATERIALS
Falls onto hard surfaces are the major cause of injury in playgrounds. Concrete, brick, asphalt, stone, hard-packed earth and grass are not acceptable surfaces under play equipment. Compacted earth (even with grass) can have an effective hardness equal to that of concrete.
There are many aspects that have to be considered when choosing a surface; these include:
- Initial purchase price
- Maintenance requirements
- Impact test results
- Suitability for the activities provided in the playground
- Impact absorption
- Toxicity or other irritating aspects
AUSTRALIAN STANDARDS FOR UNDER-SURFACING
The depth of the loose under-surfacing material or synthetic/rubber is determined by the height of the play equipment and in accordance with AS/NZS 4422:1996 - ‘Playground surfacing – Specifications, requirements and test method’.
LOOSE MATERIAL SURFACING
Impact absorbing surfaces can include:
- Pine Mulch
- Cedar Mulch
- Washed River Sand
These should be tested in accordance with AS/NZS 4422:1996 - ‘Playground surfacing – Specifications, requirements and test method’.
They should be free of large or sharp pieces that could penetrate the skin or be thrown in the playground. The loose type materials should be retained by an appropriate border and be well maintained.
Maintenance is vital. A busy playground may need its under-surfacing raked back under equipment every day. Eventually the surface will need to be topped up with new material. When topping up ensure that the supplier of the material can confirm that the material supplied has been tested in accordance with AS/NZS 4422 - 1996 and what material is required to fulfil the minimum requirements of the standard.
RUBBER SAFETY SURFACING
Rubber /synthetic safety surfaces are very effective in absorbing impact and reducing slipping in playgrounds and recreational areas. The wet pour rubber system provides a tailor made size and shape that will adhere to most types of surfaces and equipment.
As the on-site wet pour system provides a tailor-made size and shape with minimal seams, it is ideal for schools and childcare centres. Colourful shapes, patterns and designs can be incorporated into the surface. Games such as hopscotch and handball can be also inlaid.
The rubber surface is made from a compound of recycled tyre buffings and a top coat of either SBR rubber material or EDPM rubber granules.
Rubberised safety Slide Mats and Swing Mats can also be used in high use areas where children’s feet are likely to displace loose material. These are usually at the base of swings, exit of slides and other high wear areas fixed in place on a concrete pad or poured on site.
SYNTHETIC TURF SURFACING
Safe Play supply synthetic surfacing products to schools, councils and the private sector. Synthetic grass is an attractive and safe grass area that both looks and feels good while keeping maintenance very low. With our natural resources rapidly increasing in price, synthetic turf is a smart, cost effective option with a zero water surface solution that continues to perform and look good all year round, creating a highly durable capital asset. A range of colours and options is available.
The surface depth and profile is determined by the height of the play equipment, and test results in accordance to AS 4422. Safe Play Systems only use synthetic under surfacing materials which have been tested in accordance with Australian Standard AS/NZS 4422:1996, Playground surfacing- Specifications, requirements and test method.